Post # 1
I’ve been putting off figuring out our reception food because I had no clear direction of where I want to go. We’re getting married at my Mom’s lake house in the middle of nowhere, Indiana. We’re having about 30-40 people, and it’s very casual.
All that in mind, I’m doing all the cooking myself. My sisters all have little kids, and none of them want to spend the morning cooking, and my Maid/Matron of Honor won’t be getting into town until the night before. So, I mean, I guess she could help me a little bit, but there’s going to be so much to do that day.
The ceremony is at 4, so I don’t think i could get away with an appetizer only reception, I mean, people will want dinner at that time, won’t they?
I need someone to point me in the right (or any, at this point!) direction. There’s a grill, but Mom said she DID not want someone on the grill all evening, and otherwise, just the fridge and the one stove. Her idea was pulled pork sandwiches, but I just feel…meh about that.
Post # 3
What about some sort of baked pasta/lasagna or stuffed shells? You could make them in the morning and someone could pop them in the oven an hour or so before you’re ready to start!
Post # 4
YOU will be cooking on the day of your wedding? I really do not see how this is logistically possible. You will be so tired!!
I would honestly consider calling around local restaurants and see if they have a catering menu. Rent some buffet setups to keep the food warm.
I’m sorry, I just think cooking your reception food is a lot to take on on the day of your wedding.
If you really must. I would consider checking out sites like Food Network and Better Homes and Gardens. They have a good party idea section to get the creative juices flowing. One option would be to make the food the day before. Then it will jsut be a matter of reheating the day of. Or make something that will be OK cold.
How about items that can cook in a crock pot? That way you can do all the prep the night before. And just plug in the crock pot the morning of?
To make things easier maybe 2 main entrees and just a whole bunch of side items? Or maybe make the side items yourself and buy entrees from local restaurants?
Post # 5
I would make as much stuff as you can a few weeks before, and freeze them (lasagnes are perfect for this, and pulled pork works very well, too; so do a ton of appetizers). I would definitely try to hire someone–even a competent high schooler–to put things in the oven and bring them out. In fact, I’d try to hire a few people to do this.
We tried something new for Christmas and had dinner catered (buffet-style) by my cousin’s restaurants. Even with next-to-no cooking and only 15 people, I still spent a lot of time in the kitchen, heating things up, plating them, etc.
Good luck! If you need any more food ideas, let me know. I’m a big fan of make-ahead!
Post # 6
There’s not really any restaurants there except maybe a pizza place. There’s you know, a Wal-mart there, but really, it’s such a tiny little town. The scenery is gorgeous, however, probably because of the lack of businesses!
I’m making my own favors (caramel apples, they can last a couple of days in the refridgerator) and my own wedding cupcakes, but this food thing is kicking my butt.
I think I’m getting stuck because I was trying to think of fall type foods, because I know that’s one of my favorite parts. (For example, I’m putting breakfast things in the Out of Town bags, including these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins I make every year…they freeze, so I can make them early!)
When you combine this stuff with the fact that I’m planning this from out of state…oomph. Talk about overwhelmed.
Post # 7
Check out these two blogs:
Both of these ladies had help organizing and cooking the food, which is going to be key to catering the reception yourself! But look around the blogs for some ideas for what they did. They definitely had more laid-back, casual receptions than is typical, so it could be what you’re looking for!
Post # 8
“When you combine this stuff with the fact that I’m planning this from out of state…oomph. Talk about overwhelmed.”
Exactly! I would definitely, definitely make as much earlier as possible. Enlist help of family members.
Being that it’s fall soups, stews and chowders will be great! And all that stuff can be made prior and put in the freezer. Take down the night before, throw it in a pot the morning of to completely thaw then throw them in a crock pot to stay warm.
We threw a surprise anniversary party for the FI’s parents a couple years back for around teh same amount of ppl. Just under 40 or so. And it was a lot of work! It was mainly Fiance & I and help from his siblings. But still a lot of work.
What about anything that is a “family recipe”? Or something that is native to your area?
Post # 9
I don’t think you really know what you are in for cooking for 30-40 people! We did this for my sister’s first wedding and it took 6 of us 3-5 days (depends on if you count the dessert prep too or not) to pre-cook everything. Then it took a volunteer “staff” (all family members) 2 hours to heat and prepare right before everyone ate, and then there were 3 people serving up food the whole time who basically didn’t get to sit down and enjoy the wedding (my dad among them!). Unless you do this kind of cooking every day, I don’t think there is anyway at all you, and you alone!, could pull off cooking for that many AND be able to look back at your wedding day as anything other then a horrible, stressful, hot, sweaty day you regret.
Check local resturants and see what they offer in the buffet catering or heat-n-eat category of food. I know Milwaukee, WI isn’t Indiana, but when I was searching for a caterer I found that many, if not most, of my favorite resturants offer various levels of catering (everything from pick-up where you heat at home to full on doing everything for you). Also, many grocery stores offer various levels of catering or food prep- you could order giant fruit, veggie, and olive/meat/cheese trays from a grocery store nearby (some even bake very nice wedding cakes!), get pick-up entrees and some sides from a local resturant (then pick-up those throw away catering heating trays from Sam’s Club or Costco cheap). That way, all you’d have to do is get everything heated up, and maybe prepare a salad or something. If you have a local food co-op, check their catering prices too. Its the route we’re going and they were able to give us everything we wanted for thousands less then the big guys because they’re essentially a non-profit group (well, ours is anyway!).
Post # 10
To be honest, I’m sort of afraid to ask my family for help, because I don’t want to get shot down. They’re not as excited as I’d like them to be (though, obviously, they’re not going to be on the all wedding, all the time channel that we are.) So far, my Dad has said that he won’t come since it’s at my Mom’s house, and my Mom has said that 30 people is embarassing for a second wedding. And that’s when I started keeping my ideas and planning quiet, because, who wants to hear stuff like that?
I actually really like the idea of having some soup there, I make great soups 🙂
Post # 11
I second something that can be made ahead and frozen like lasagna, enchiladas, stew, cottage pie, chili, or a casserole. Then on the day of, or night before you can get up early and make a salad and a side dish like grilled corn, Mexican rice, oven roasted veggies, mashed potatoes, etc. Pick up some rolls at that Walmart and you are set! High five backyard wedding!
Post # 12
Another woman catered her own wedding doing fancy sandwiches – what could be easier? No cooking, it’s all prep! She shows her step-by-step process for getting it all done and even outlines some timelines you could follow to make it less stressful and to make sure everything gets done! It’s obviously a lot of work, so only consider it if you’re really committed. But it sounds like you might be in the middle of nowhere, so maybe there’s no other option.
If your family is reluctant to help you out, do you have some friends who might not mind getting together a few days before to help you out?
Post # 13
See, all of my friends are coming in from out of town, I’m a transplant. I’m from california, I live in Ohio, and I’m getting married in Indiana. My Maid/Matron of Honor is from Georgia. My other friends are coming in from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Texas…I can ask them, but I feel bad that they won’t get to be real guests, you know?
What bugs me about this is that the family doesn’t disapprove of the MARRIAGE, they disapprove of the wedding. They think second weddings belong in courthouses, period.
Thank you for all of these suggestions, and links, it really helps!
Post # 14
I agree with pp who have said attempting too much cooking the morning of will be too much – you should be able to relax a bit the morning of your wedding!
Would it be warm enough to do BBQ? You could premake (or buy premade) burger patties, hotdogs, some kielbasa sausage and chicken the week before the wedding, and I bet there would be a guest willing to man the grill. You could have a bar of “burger toppings” – relish, red onions, lettuce, tomato, a couple types of cheese, pickles, bacon, etc. I think everything but the tomatoes could easily be sliced the day before and kept in the fridge.
Hmmm, fall themed foods – what about making/buying pumpkin ravioli? They could be kept frozen, then cooked up after the ceremony. Do you have access to crockpots? Some fall themed crockpot idea could be a butternut squash or pumpkin bisque, hot apple cider, parsnip/apple soup, Irish potato soup, a chowder, etc.
Post # 15
First of all, hugs to you. I feel sorry that your mom isn’t more proactive. That said, I agree with the other posters that cooking a lot of food yourself the day of your wedding will be exhausting.
I personally don’t see anything wrong with a reception that’s heavy on appetizers (stuff you can do a few days ahead of time), perhaps some baked ziti, maybe some nice sliced roast beef with rolls for sandwiches. Stuff you just have to heat up.
I love the soup in the crockpot idea too.
Post # 16
It’s your wedding day…you don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen!
Are you against the idea of cold plates? My Fis cousin did this (herself) to feed 120 people! She hired one person to set the food up and keep the dishes filled. She had cold turkey, garden salads, potato salads, coleslaw, etc. It’s easy, tasty, everything can be prepared the day/days ahead of time, and you don’t have to worry about heating anything up on the day of the wedding.
You could even add in a couple of extra meat/cheese/appetizer trays if you wanted.